Gifts, Gifts And More Gifts

I have written before about the amazing outpouring of support, love, prayers, notes and actual physical gifts I have been given by my close friends, the women of Dykema, and others. It continues, and the love, support, kindness, and gifts that are sent my way strengthen my resolve to win this battle. Because it has been so overwhelming I feel I need to write about it again.

My friends Deb and Jackie have been to EVERY chemo with me (now numbering seven), with my husband Alan, and visit the day after when I am so trashed I know I am not great company. Judy reaches out constantly and usually makes me homemade bread. They text me to see how I am doing, particularly during chemo week, because they know that it is a rough, rough time. My kids always come to see me either Wednesday or Thursday during chemo to check on me, and Alex, my son, has made me dinner that night the last three chemos (albeit during chemo number 5, dinner that time was Ensure). Alan is my rock – always there. My cousins text regularly and always send words of encouragement during chemo. But it is not just my close friends and family – it is outpouring from others that amazes me.

Almost every day I hear from someone at work, or outside work asking how I am doing. Dottie, who works in our marketing department and who, like me, loves fashion, reaches out constantly and told me yesterday that her church of 20,000 is praying for me every week. That so touched me. Ava reaches out as well, and has introduced me to Marcie, an ovarian cancer survivor, who reaches out to me, checks on me, has had me to her house and been here. One of my clients and friends gave me a Native American stone carving (a fetish), small enough to fit into my pocket or purse. It is a white bear with a red arrow pointing to the breath, and is for healing. The breath is key to my yoga practice and helps me when I am feeling awful during chemo. This was so perfect for me. That touched me, along with the fact that every week in her synagogue she says my name during the healing prayers. A women from whom I bought two dresses with Judy and Deb, knowing I had cancer, gave Judy a bottle of holy water she had brought from an ancient Catholic church in Ephesus. Who would have thought that she would make such a gesture. My assistant, Patty, tells me her entire prayer group has been praying for me and she is always checking on how I am feeling and ready to help. A paralegal I work with at one of my clients learned I had cancer and immediately reached out to me. She was crying, but I assured her I was positive and planned to beat this. Daniella, a lawyer from the same client, has sent me postings from her new position in India, and encouragement. Other lawyers who have worked with me have called, checked on me, and arranged to have dinner. The partner of one of my retired partners made me a beautiful fleece throw for the cold.

Other friends at work, like Lisa, read this blog, and tell me how positive and strong I am and they know I will beat this and be healthy. Laura, who has had to deal with her mother dying from pancreatic cancer just this week after only 5 1/2 months, has been so sensitive to me, while dealing with her own family. Her sweetness and support never stopped even while she was working like crazy and struggling to support her mother and father. When I go to the office, everyone who sees me cheers me on, and asks how I am doing. These gestures, kindnesses, notes and prayers are gifts in every way.

A wife of one of Alan’s ski friends, who we had over at the house in Utah at Christmas, is giving me healing energy massages every Friday after my chemo. She will not take anything for this. It is her gift to me. When I leave her house after the massage, I feel whole and so much better.

Nor have the Dykema women stopped with cards, notes, small gifts, even a hand made scarf. In Chicago, all of the women in the office sent me a framed picture holding signs that say LOVE From The Ladies In Chicago. I am going to that office next week and cannot wait to visit with them. Our Dallas, Texas office, whose hearts are as big as Texas have never stopped checking on me, and asking how I am doing. Kelly, with whom I have worked, sends me lovely beauty products. Kevin sent me an inspirational book this week about pioneer women of Texas with unflinching courage, comparing them to what I was doing. The office is sending us Texas barbecue to enjoy – how sweet is that! But I do not need the physical gifts. It is the outpouring of support, love, prayers, and notes, letting me know I am in their thoughts and they are sending healing energy to me that what bolsters me.

My yoga communities are constantly caring, and watching for me. They cheer me on as I do my practice, ask me how I am doing, and Kathy, one of my teachers, gave me a beautiful daily meditation book by a cancer survivor. Nancy, who conducted the healing circle for me, did a beautiful practice today that brought in some of the Native American traditions she used in the circle that so spoke to me. Of course, she asked how I was doing. Matthew, who is my main teacher, hugs me after every practice and tells me he loves me. What more could I want…The gifts of love and support steel my resolve. I dread the chemo, but I also know that behind me are a lot of people cheering me on, sending me strength and love, and visualizing me whole and healthy. This means more to me than they can know. Over and over, I tell the people who reach out to me that they do not know how much this means to me. I am strong, but my strength also comes from them, and from the communities I have. All my life I have been a person who has sought community wherever I am. Those communities are now behind me. I can only say to all of them that my heart and soul have been touched by you, and that you have helped me remain strong in the face of this tough fight.

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